Djuna’s Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes

mang’Oh teacher and woman of many talents, Djuna (and her mini-sous-chef), will be joining us for the month of September as our guest blogger-baker at mang’Oh life. Keeping with the theme of the month, non-violence, she will be making all vegan recipes. Enjoy!

My grandmother always said chocolate was good for the soul – I couldn’t agree more. However, many chocolate treats are loaded with unnecessary sugar and unhealthy additives. One of the many bonuses of baking is the ability to use healthier and more nutrient ingredients. While these cupcakes should still be enjoyed in moderation the unsweetened applesauce used to replace eggs is a low-calorie, naturally sweet, and healthy ingredient. The coconut oil is used to replace butter providing a healthier fat, and silkier texture to the cupcakes. These cupcakes have become a favorite at birthday parties (for kids and kids at heart), dinner parties, and as a treat to soothe my soul after a particularly rough week.

For the Cupcakes (makes 24):

2 cups almond milk
2 tsp white or apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup melted coconut oil
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups + 2 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups cane sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For the Frosting:

1 cup (16 Tbsp) vegan butter, softened
2 1/2 – 3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder*
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk

* For this batch we used 1/3 cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp beet root powder to create pink frosting (cranberry extract powder can also be used)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and prep 24 cupcake tins with liners.
  2. Mix 1 1/2 cups almond milk and vinegar in a large mixing bowl, and let set for a few minutes to activate (this creates vegan buttermilk).
  3. Add the oil, remaining almond milk, vanilla extract, and applesauce and beat until foamy.
  4. Add the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt to a sifter and together.
  5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while mixing with a hand-held or standing mixer. Beat until no large lumps remain. It should be creamy and pourable.
  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full.
  7. Bake 17-10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  8. Let cool completely before frosting.
  9. While cooling, prepare frosting by beating together all ingredients until light and fluffy, adding the powdered sugar in small amounts until you reach your desired consistency and sweetness. If it becomes too thick, add more almond milk. If it’s too thin, add more cocoa powder or powdered sugar.
  10. Once the cupcakes are cooled, frost generously and decorate liberally with fresh fruit or sprinkles.